Length: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio: DD 5.1 English; EnglishDolby Surround
1 Love is about basketball. It’s not about the NBA. In fact, discussion of the NBA is limited to a small portion of this documentary by Leon Gast. It’s about the love of the game.
Beginning with the invention of basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts, 1 Love traces the early days of the sport in the Jewish communities in New York City, the evolution of the sport in Harlem, and the refinement of the game as a street sport as well as a school sport. While mention is made of the NCAA, NBA, WNBA and international leagues, the focus is on the game itself.
There are many interviews with the pioneers of the game as an organized sport, and with streetball legends in New York. There are more interviews with Indiana high school coaches and players. There are talks with NBA players and coaches as well, talking about how they got involved in the game, and how it has evolved.
Since I grew up watching the Boston Celtics in the 70’s and 80’s, I was bothered that only a passing mention was made of the great Bird / Johnson rivalry (and that mention was limited to the famous meeting between Michigan State and Indiana State). Boston legend Bill Russell had only a passing mention, and I never heard Wilt Chamberlain’s name mentioned at all. Other passing mention was made for Dr. J... while several minutes were allocated to Latrell Sprewell and Allen Iverson.
The documentary covers, it seems, the history of pro basketball up to the formation of the NBA, then skips ahead to the NBA of today - ignoring the evolution of the professional game. While I found it refreshing that the focus was on the game and not the business, some inclusion of the great pro ball players of the past would have been nice.
If you’re a basketball fan, but have only really been watching the NBA perspective on the game, you’ll find the pieces on the early evolution of the game, and the streetball legends to be a fresh perspective. I’m a fan of the game, and I found the documentary to be well produced, entertaining and informative, despite the omissions mentioned above.
The video is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. The quality is variable, since the source elements include 16 mm black and white film footage that is decades old, old and new 35 mm and video sourced game footage, and digital video. Some of the interviews are shot with a raw edge - a handheld camera with quick pans and zooms, and visible refocusing. Others are shot on a static tripod mount. I noticed no serious flaws in the transfer - no compression artifacts or over sharpening. Other qualities including sharpness, contrast and color fidelity were dependent on the source elements and were variable, but probably a good representation of those elements.
1 Love comes to you in English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, with and English Dolby Surround track included as well. The dialog was always clear and intelligible, and well-rounded in frequency. Music sounded good, and included a variety ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Ludacris! More recent recordings made ample use of my subwoofer.
There are no special features.
Basketball fans will enjoy this documentary by award winning director Leon Gast. I found it to be well crafted, with a focus on aspects of the game that we normally don’t get to see in the media. My only complaint is the lack of NBA discussion from the 1950’s until the 1990’s.
If you love basketball, this one is worth a look.